Victoria’s secret — and sense of humor
PROVIDENCE — Fleece, satin, and pleather: Textures open portals to associations burrowed deep in the subconscious. In “The Intimate Collection,” at Yellow Peril Gallery, Kathryn Parker Almanas triggers those visceral responses with textiles and photos. Some are plump with innuendo and sly humor; others leave little to the imagination.
In her provocative still life photos, Almanas drapes glass vessels with lacy underwear, garnishing them with sliced fruit punctured with pins. “Peel” depicts a green apple skin holding green panties to the rim of a glass; a pale blue bra coils around a stack of plastic hangers below. The link between food and lingerie comes easily — appetite, desire — but the cuts in the fruit and the pins softly insinuate threat and the vulnerability of flesh.
Almanas fashions many of her textile pieces from women’s underwear, toying with erotic projections and, just as intimately, with women’s day-to-day relationships with their own bodies.
In the hilarious “Skulls,” she shapes bras into crania, with satiny ribbons tied at the nose, straps for eyes, and clasps for teeth. Skulls symbolize poison, warning off those who savor their lovers in slinky lingerie. Women might see specters of tortuous corsets made for the delight of the appraising eye, not for the comfort of the wearer.
Other works are unresolved or too blatant. Panties cut up and sewn together in the “Hide” series evoke sensuality, but the title’s double meaning (animal skins, concealment) has more charge than the pieces themselves. Collages made with sexy bits of Almanas’s photos are more comical than complicated.
Then there’s “Sheath,”depicting a couple in a mildly acrobatic kama sutra-type pose sewn in white onto a rectangle of white fleece like a baby’s blanket. It’s disconcertingly funny, but was that Almanas’s intention? The material and the cartoon-style figures empty all the steam out of any eroticism. In art, anyway, sex is better left implied.
KATHRYN PARKER ALMANAS:
THE INTIMATE COLLECTION
At Yellow Peril Gallery, 60 Valley St., Providence, through Sept. 24. 401-861-1535, www.yellowperilgallery.com